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Chila Restaurant – Buenos Aires, Argentina

January 2023

Chila with its chef Pedro Bargero is one of the few restaurants in Argentina that offers international gourmet cuisine. It is part of the exclusive Relais & Chateau association and is recognized as the 18th best restaurant in Latin America.

I visited this restaurant as part of my trip to Argentina, which took me to the northwest in the Salta area, to Buenos Aires and to Patagonia around Bariloche and El Bolson.

The entrance

The furnishings are simple. This allowed me to concentrate fully on the food.

At the beginning I receive this envelope, which I can tear open.

It contains a description of the 8-course menu and a small amuse bouche.

There is also a map showing the origin of the products. I will come across the cider from Patagonia there again.

A look into the kitchen

The wine pairing begins with a Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine with fermentation in the bottle. This is why it is a little cloudy.

The snacks come in this container, which I can take apart to make four bowls.

Sweet potato tart with fermented cashew foam, roasted lemon emulsion and nectatine

Left Chipa Cabure, fresh and fermented cassava, coriander butter, bell pepper powder and blue butter

Nixtamalized pumpkin, apple chutney and pumpkin seeds

Smoked pacu and beetroot churro, black garlic emulsion and citrus meringue

After this wonderful beginning, it is already clear that Chila is indeed the best restaurant in Argentina!

This is followed by a Gewürztraminer from Patagonia.

Hailoom tomatoes, macerated watermelon, pistachios, scallops, tomato water

An excellent dish! I even spooned up every last drop of the tomato water!

A white wine assemblage was served next.

Octopus, green apple, zucchini, ginger, white chocolate and fennel puree, potato and nori seaweed chips: Wonderful!

To cleanse the palate:

Strawberry vinegar popsicol, pickled and dehidrated strawberry, peas puree. A vinegar-flavored ice cream! An unusual but surprisingly good experience.

Even this Chardonnay from Mendoza tastes slightly vinegary afterwards, but very pleasant.

Great mullet, glazed chard, beurre Blanc, tapioca and fried quinoa. Fried pacú. At the back pieces with bones are served, from which the customer can remove the meat.

The next wine is a sweet honey wine from a winery that places great value on biodiversity and is therefore a pioneer in Argentina.

A wonderful bonus course that is served in addition to the menu: Candy cotton, popcorn salt, strawberry vinegar gel, sweetbread, chimichurri (a typical Argentinian sauce that is usually served with grilled meat)

Customers can choose the knife for the meat course. A funny punch line.

I opt for this knife with a horn handle.

I know the Porvenir winery in Cafayate in the northwest of Argentina well, as it is my favorite winery in the area. But this is a luxury wine that mere mortals cannot taste or buy. A perfect red wine made from Malbec grapes grown at 1,850 meters above sea level.

The meat served is almost raw, just a little warm and wonderfully tender, served with a caper and olive paste. Unsurpassable! Served with a tortilla with wagyu fat!

This additional course is a watermelon sorbet with melons and pickled watermelons. Simply perfect!

This apple cider from Patagonia is served with the first dessert. It is wonderfully complex and cannot be compared with Swiss cider drinks.

A cherry sorbet with yogurt and blueberries is served in an edible container with hibiscus flavor.

For the next dessert a sweet Chardonnay wine is served.

A dessert with many typical Argentinian elements: Sweet potato ice cream, Cendre del Valle cheese, quince jam, cheese sablee

The meal and the accompanying wine cost 48,000 Argentinian pesos, which is equivalent to around CHF 135 (€ 140) at the dollar/blue exchange rate. With the tip, I put down 53 thousand bills.

All in all, I experienced a perfect meal with an Argentinian influence. The wines were unique and went perfectly with the courses! A great experience!

If Michelin were to award stars in Argentina, 2 stars would be appropriate.

The year is only 4 days old, but it’s quite possible that this meal is already the ‘meal of the year’!

Addendum Dec. 2023: Top chef Pedro Bargero has closed the Chila restaurant. He now practises his art at the MAR Cocina Suratlántica restaurant in the Argentinian coastal town of Mal del Plata.